Sunday, November 29, 2009

Reintroduction of the Raggedys

Once upon a time a little girl played with dolls. She loved her dolls and cared for them, tucking them into their little beds and ensuring their outfits were well matched. She arranged and rearranged and rearranged again the furniture inside her doll houses. She imagined a faraway kingdom ruled by her all powerful She-Ra and a herd of colorful My Little Ponies. Her Barbies had families and children and a Ken who never removed his tux, just in case he needed to get to a formal at a moment’s notice. Her Little People had neatly arranged streets between neatly designed block houses that were constantly remodeled to suit their ever-changing needs and furniture.

Then the little girl grew up and had two little … boys. They introduced her to an obsession with cars, trucks, tractors, trains. They showed her that little boys cannot play with said transportation objects without making a motor sound with their little voices. They baffled her with their desire to pretend-drive in the real car. They ran circles around her on their little feet and drove circles around her on their little cars. She laughed at how different her little boys were from little girls. She especially laughed when the little boys parked their cars in her old dollhouse, making it a house of garages, and when they tossed her old doll onto the floor in order to put their trucks to bed in her old doll bed.

But one day the girl’s mother pulled two of the little girl’s dolls out of an old storage box. And she introduced The Raggedys to the little boys. And the life-size dolls weren’t tossed to the floor in favor of trucks or cars. Not even for trains. They were giggled over. And carried around. They were hugged and analyzed and they even brought out a “wow!” or two.

And if even for one morning, and if even vicariously, watching her little boys the girl felt little again. Big and little, cars and dolls, boys and girls – the differences weren’t so glaring.

For a morning.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

When will VW get the mom memo?

The soccer mom is dead. She is buried next to the Astro mini-van. And if she wasn’t, I would kill her after watching videos like the one featured in this recent article.

I wasn’t sure whether I should feel offended or annoyed at the video, which is marketing the VW Routan. So I felt both.

The mom in question has an annoying mom-jean, bouncing around, hugging strangers kind of persona. Of course she speaks with a northern Midwest accent, youbetcha. To make it worse, this soccer mom has forgotten her children who are sitting on a street curb alone in the rain.
Did VW miss a little what-not-to-do-when-marketing-to-moms case study called Motrin Moms? Moms don’t like snark. They don’t want to be portrayed as disregarding their children. They certainly don’t want to be shown has having half a brain. They are tech-savvy, empowered multi-taskers in charge of the household after all.

For Pete’s sake, how many times are we going to have to keep regurgitating the Motrin Moms case before other major brands come around?

And they probably aren’t self-identifying as soccer moms anymore, even though kids’ soccer may very well be a big deal at home. Research has uncovered more than 50 mom sub-segments. Yet decades after the birth and death of the Soccer Mom, we still see her starring in mom-focused campaigns.

The Routan mom should be wielding a smart phone (not a clipboard!) where she manages the family calendar and 'to-dos.' And said to-do list wouldn’t include “don’t forget children.” She should be trendy (like her Routan?) and socially appropriate.

Of course moms appreciate humor in marketing. But it’s just not funny when the target is mom and particularly one we can’t identify with. We need to laugh with her; not at her.

Is this the consumer VW folks see when a mom walks into a dealership? Take the sterotype-colored glasses off, VW marketers. Not to mention the fact that if this is the type of mom driving a Routan, do you really think that’s the type of driver persona I want to identify with?

When did making-fun-of-mom become a marketing strategy?

So many questions. Such high blood pressure. (sigh)

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Him: “Hey, what’s up.”

Her: “Not much. Got this pretty dress and everything so all’s good.”

Him: “That’s cool. I decided to go casual myself.”

Her: “Yes, I see that. You kinda look like you’re headed to a backyard bar-be-que. Are you?”

Him: “Nah, I’m stuck here for a while at least. I can’t drive.”

Her: “Yeah, me neither. This carpet is making me dizzy anyway. Probably wouldn’t be a good idea to get behind the wheel after my eyes being so close to this carpet pattern.”

Him: “I know, what is up with the carpet? If I hadn’t needed glasses before tonight, I would now!”

Her: “So did you hit the buffet?”

Him: “Yep, loaded a plate with bread and crackers. A little cake. Okay, a lot. I have a carb weakness.”

Her: “Oh, that explains why you have such a gut but chicken legs. Have you been working out?”

Him: “Hey now, I do my share of running, jumping, wrestling my dad, pushing my brother. I get my cardio.”

Her: “Okay, sorry I mentioned it! Sore subject, huh?”

Him: “No worries. Hey, is that the Cha-Cha Slide I hear?”

Her: “Oooh, Let’s go show ‘em how it’s done.”

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Best Friends

They don't yet realize what a precious gift a good friend is. All they know is they both love zooming matchbox cars and eating corndogs. It's a beautiful thing.